Raising Cane!

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
Trip End May 10, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Primavera

Flag of El Salvador  , La Paz,
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Playa San Diego to Zacatecoluca 50km
38C after 9am

Trip Alt 429 m
Max Alt 250 m
Avg slope 3%
Max slope 13%

We decided to break the 150km distance to Playa Cuco into 3 equal segments. 50km in a day is about right for us, as long as the hills are not too gruesome. Today's goal is Zacatecoluca, a decent size town, 54km up the road.

Up and at 'em at 5:30. Kelly unlocked the gate for us as she was on her way out to a surf spot to watch the sunrise.
The dirt road shortcut took us to the Carretera Litural, the main highway, a kilometer away worked out great and we were rolling down the wide shoulder of highway 2 in no time. The terrain toward the airport, our way, was flat but we were going up hill gently. And apart from 3 manhole covers missing on the shoulder, the road was in great shape.
After about 10 km Dave had the first flat of the day.  

We found a cane field near the road where a crew was hard at work harvesting the cane. Bus loads of workers with machetes whacked away. A front end loader picked up large clumps of cane and lifted it onto the truck. The small stuff left behind after the main clean-up, was loaded on a small oxcart. Interesting to watch. But boy, do those workers, work!

Christopher Columbus first brought cane to the Americas during his second voyage.t

Then, just beyond the intersection to San Salvador and the airport, the road became more up and down and snaked through the country side. We had a pretty stiff head wind as well. Michelle felt her load was loose and asked Dave to double check the rack again. Rack is a bit sloppy but the problem this time was a rapidly deflating rear tire. In the process of patching the tube, we noticed the tread was done and the inner case of this nice tire was showing. Time for a replacement soon. Hills and heat began to wear us down. As the heat became intense, the hills became mountains for Michelle. We stopped in a small town for breakfast to find the tire was going flat a second time. It was not a good day for Michelle's trusty TREK Bike. We roasted and at last, at around 1 ish, got to Zacateculuca where we followed a hotel recommendation from a cop. "Hotel Primavera" and were thrilled with the $15. aircon room. The bikes even fit in the room. Michelle did ask them to change the sheets which they happily did. The aircon had two settings, South Pole and Off.

Dave went to scout town for a new back rack or clamps to fix the old one. He also made the rounds of the pharmacies looking for a place to refill one of Michelle's prescriptions. He stuck out at the bike shops in town and the pharmacies. And this is a fair size town (40000). Then, on his way to the supermarket, he noticed the hardware store had a sign stating they had paint, building supplies, bike and car parts. What the heck. He had learned at the bike shop that he was looking for a 'pa-rey-ya'. That worked for the clerk and he came out with his one and only rack. $6.50 later, the gem was ours. It wasn't really designed for panniers, but with a few added washers and duct tape, it was good to go. We examined the old rack to tally 3 broken weld and a cracked eyelet. 

The rear tire was getting soft again. Yep, time to replace that too. Only 3000 miles and the rear tire was worn and falling apart. Dave had been carrying an extra tire on our last few bike trips and finally it payed off. Although, even the smallest towns we have gone through on this outing seem to have tires that would work until we find something better.

As the sun was going down, we journeyed toward the market in search of some grub. But the market was closing down and only a few restaurants in the town center were still open. We went into the fast food chicken place to discover they had WiFi, AirCon, and 2 for 1 pizza. What more could we ask?
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